Broward General Medical Center Johns the Mathew Forbes Romer Foundation to Bring Free Genetic Testing and Education to Broward County

BOCA RATON, Fla. – (September 20, 2007) – The Mathew Forbes Romer Foundation (MFRF) will hold its Fifth Annual South Florida Genetic Testing and Education Fair for the first time in Broward County on Sunday, October 28 at Broward General Medical Center, 1600 South Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Broward Board of Rabbis will serve as a lead Broward County sponsor for this inaugural Broward County event.

Potential parents throughout South Florida will be offered free carrier screening for six fatal children’s genetic brain diseases including Tay-Sachs, Canavan, Cystic Fibrosis, Familial Dysautonomia, Gaucher and Niemann-Pick.

The free screening (a $600 value) involves a simple blood test administered by Broward General Medical Center’s professional staff.  Participants will also have access to medical experts, genetic counselors and affected families and enjoy a multimedia educational presentation. The tests will be analyzed and evaluated by Genzyme Genetics utilizing its world class genetic testing labs.  The results will remain confidential between the participants and their healthcare service providers.

“We are very pleased to be marking the fifth anniversary of the South Florida Genetic Testing & Education Fair by bringing it to Broward County for the first time,” said MFRF President Kevin Romer.  “Our Foundation is excited about its partnership with Broward General Medical Center, The Broward Board of Rabbis and Genzyme to make it as easy as possible for potential parents to receive this important genetic testing free of charge.   Appointments are limited however, so we encourage potential parents to register as soon as possible for one of the available spots”.

In the past four years, the Fair has provided screening for nearly 400 participants. More than 20% of those tested from all backgrounds were found to be carriers of the gene for at least one of these fatal diseases.

“We welcome potential parents to Broward General Medical Center to take advantage of this important genetic testing opportunity,” said Joseph F. Scott, CEO of Broward General Medical Center and honorary co-chair of the event.  “Our mission is to provide the finest health and wellness initiatives to our community, and this free genetic testing program in partnership with The Mathew Forbes Romer Foundation is another opportunity for us to reach out and make a difference in the health of others.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has issued opinions stating that potential parents of Ashkenazi Jewish (Eastern European) descent should be offered carrier screening for Tay-Sachs, Canavan, Cystic Fibrosis and Familial Dysautonomia.

Additional groups at risk include Hispanics, Haitians, Irish Americans, French Canadians, Cajuns, Orientals, South Africans, and those of British and Middle Eastern descent according to Genzyme Genetics and our network of affected families.

“We are very pleased to sponsor the Genetic Testing Fair and bring it to Broward County for the first time,” said Rabbi Andrew Jacobs, president of The Broward Board of Rabbis and honorary co-chair of the event.  “It is a vital service offered free of charge to all potential parents, not only in the  Jewish community but throughout all ethnic groups in South Florida, and we encourage all individuals contemplating parenthood to take advantage of this important program.”

Other generous sponsors of the Genetic Testing and Education Fair include Judy Levis Markhoff, The Lipson Family, Genzyme, Akerman Senterfitt and Baron Delivers.

In Palm Beach County, the South Florida Genetic Testing and Education Fair will be held Sunday, October 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University.

Appointments for the tests at both locations are limited and participants must pre-register.
For more information or to register, call The Mathew Forbes Romer Foundation at (561) 477-0337 or visit .

About The Mathew Forbes Romer Foundation
The Mathew Forbes Romer Foundation, established in 1998, is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization under section 501(c) (3) of the IRS code that supports education and research of children’s genetics diseases of the brain, and is the South Florida affiliate of National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Association, the oldest genetics organization in the country. The foundation, now celebrating its eighth anniversary, is committed to increasing access to quality genetic testing, facilitating research of genetic diseases and bringing diagnostic and treatment options to South Florida.

About Broward General Medical Center
Broward General Medical Center is a facility of the North Broward Hospital District and
the largest hospital in Broward County, Florida.  The North Broward Hospital District, providing service for more than 50 years, is a nationally recognized community health system offering world class health care services to our neighbors in South Florida.  One of the 10 largest public health systems in the nation, the NBHD operates more than 30 healthcare facilities, including Broward General Medical Center, North Broward Medical Center, Imperial Point Medical Center, Coral Springs Medical Center, Chris Evert Children’s Hospital, Weston Regional HealthPark and Community Health Services.  For more information visit

About the Broward Board of Rabbis
The Broward Board of Rabbis serves as the rabbinic voice of Broward County.  Its members represent more than 20 synagogues throughout the county.

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